I am someone who knows my way around a keyboard, but isn’t really invested in computer science, hacking, or computer and electrical engineering—I’ve often been fascinated with the idea of “small problems” in the practice of computing. I’m here referring to the ubiquitous weekend projects and semi-organized hackathons. Not only do these (very) occasionally lead to important theoretical insights, they frequently contribute to the practice. We’ve seen all sorts of feats of implementation, development, reverse engineering, and integration.
While the humanities are a decidedly less practice-oriented field, there still are enclaves of practice, such as in digital humanities, book history, and of course, actual writing. If we were to find areas of practice, or small areas of theory, what would the humanities take to be a “small problem”, accomplishable in a weekend or a hackathon?